WYOMING – A more than decade-long investigation into drinking water in Pavilion, Wyoming has concluded that fracking in the area had nothing to do with polluted water, sometimes so fouled it could be set on fire.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released an exhaustive report to confirm its 2016 findings that groundwater in the Pavillion area has not been contaminated by nearby oil and gas activity or associated hydraulic fracturing methods. Rather, household water has been, in some instances, made toxic by natural gas escaping through porous earth and into groundwater throughout the Upper Wind River Formation.

Baseline testing determined this condition existed prior to drilling in the Pavillion area, and is a naturally-occurring condition.

The report concludes WDEQ’s investigation on the matter. The state agency has made its recommendations, including the capping of some water wells. Further response is now in the hands of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency.

At least two dozen households were receiving bottled water since 2014. That program ended in March 2017. Encana Oil and Gas, the company responsible for the fracking near Pavillion, has not yet issued a response to the findings.